30th April to May 7th 2017

Yet another week up at the Grant Arms in Scotland as a guest speaker was beckoning . Going via Southport ( to see the mighty imps finish their season ) and a day in the Lake District ( to visit old haunts ) . It was good to get away to see Scotland at its finest little did I know that it would be a rain free week .Arriving on the Monday it was dinner and straight on with the talk on Autumn Migration in Southern Spain .


The following morning a short stroll post breakfast along the old railway line gave great views of many species of finches and tits with the star birds of the morning being Grey Wagtails . It really was a pleasure to see so many Song Thrushes which are becoming a scarce species further south in Britain .An afternoon and Evening was then spent under the careful tutelage of Jim Cornfoot to improve my flyfishing techniques , 

this took place at Avielochan a private loch where we had great views of Slavonian Grebe going through their various mating rituals .A day was spent at Strathdearn ( Upper Findhorn Valley ) sadly no eagles showed but Ring Ouzels , Wheatears and Buzzards made the day .

Moving on from here I spent an hour listening to a talk by Charlie Phillips who has been the local WDC (Whale Dolphin Conservation ) officer for over 20 years. His talk took place at the Inverness University and was entitled ‘ On a Rising Tide’ with staggering photography. I then met Charlie at his office Chanonary Point on the Black Isle a couple of days later where he continued to spread his considerable knowledge about his first love ‘The Dolphins of the Moray Firth .

On another occasion a morning was spent walking up the Cairngorms looking for Ptarmigan up to 1100metres but no sign of them anywhere , so coming back down to the ski station and asking some fellow birders I asked them if ‘they ‘ had been lucky, well very explicit instructions were given along the lines of ;- go to the end of this Chestnut pailing fence , take four steps out to your left , line up with the top ski station come back down and look for the round boulder with the point on it . Well, wow there it was! a Ptarmigan in all of its splendour.

So after 2.5 hours of mountain walking this one had taken five minutes to find .Other species of note for the trip were lekking Black Grouse , fledgling Dippers , Ospreys (EJ and Odin at Garten ), common Terns / Sand Martins / House Martins / Swallows all newly arrived back from Africa, courting Black Throated Divers and the local speciality the adorable Red Squirrels .This region of Britain really never fails to deliver , changing from season to season with everyone seeing differing things, thankyou Grantown for the spring stay .

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